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Safety Alert: Logger Lacerates Finger on Slasher Saw

Safety Alert – Safety includes being alert to prevent everything from major accidents to minor situations

By Staff
Date Posted: 10/1/2009


            On a Saturday, spring morning in the Southeast, a logger was attempting to fix a bent saw bar on his slasher saw.


Personal Characteristics

            The middle-aged (mid-40s) co-owner of this timber harvesting business had been logging for all of his adult life. He had completed his state’s logger training and education program, and he was an experienced worker. His previous accident history was unknown. He was wearing some personal protective equipment.


Unsafe Act

            When the skidder operator completed a turn at the log landing, he traveled too closely to the slasher saw. His skidder tire bumped or caught a tree that was being bucked in the slasher saw and bent the saw bar-the blade was extended outward in the cutting process. As the bent saw returned to the vertical (idle) position, the bar stopped against the metal frame rather than fitting into the groove in the sawbuck’s metal frame. The logger attempted to pry the saw bar loose and to straighten it so it would fit back into the groove. He used a screwdriver to pry the bar toward him and toward the center of the groove.



            When the logger pried the saw bar free, it quickly snapped upward into the groove as the pressure was released. The saw caught the logger’s index finger and lacerated the skin from the fingertip to the knuckle.



            The logger went to a hospital emergency room where his index finger received 14 stitches. He also sprained his middle finger. He lost part of a day’s work and had restricted duty for several days.



            Relieve hydraulic pressure on all systems before starting maintenance. (Lockout/tagout procedures were violated.) Block the blade to prevent it from springing back after it is straightened. A piece of wood as a block would have prevented the bar from moving suddenly. When feasible, wear gloves when working with or repairing sharp objects. Use proper tools. Use a pry bar instead of a screwdriver. Do not place yourself or any part of your body in a position or in the path of travel of any moving parts where a sudden release of pressure could cause an injury. If you must pry a saw bar loose to remove it or work on it, pry it away from yourself rather than toward yourself. Skidder operators should avoid traveling too closely to the loader or the slasher saw.


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